I know the Eric Byrnes signing probably means that we're done acquiring position players, but I'm still hoping we trade Jose Lopez (I know he's solid, but I can't look at him without thinking "Bill Bavasi's type of player" which makes me sad) so I'd like us to be looking at second baseman and there was one rumor that I feel got lost in the shuffle. Dave Cameron tweeted (right here) that the Mariners are (or possibly were) taking a look at Alberto Callaspo.
Dave referred to him as a "potential M's final hitter" which seems to imply that if we had Callaspo, we'd be using him in a utility type role. Prospect Insider (I know, but I mentioned them anyways) also seems to think Callaspo is more of a utility guy than an every day player. I don't really get it. He seems pretty startworthy (I'm pretty sure it's a word) to me. As far as I can tell, he doesn't seem all that different from Orlando Hudson who everybody seems pretty high on. Both are swith hitters with Callaspo being a little better righty and Hudson a little better lefty, which I guess makes Hudson a slightly better fit, but barely. Last year, Hudson was worth +9 with the bat and -3.3 with the glove for a grand total of 2.9 WAR while Callaspo was worth +11 and -6.6 for 2.8 so again, slight edge to Hudson.
Comparing them beyond last year is difficult due to the fact that Callaspo’s basically only played one year and Hudson's entire style of play seemed to completely change when he went to Arizona (his bat got better and his glove got worse), but here’s my attempt to see if last year was a fluke. Over the last four years, Hudson's UZR/150s have been -.7, +.5, -7.6, and -3.7. Seems to paint the picture of a slightly below average defensive second baseman which is also the impression I get from the -2.9 UZR/150 Callaspo's accumulated in his brief time in the majors. Hudson walks more (9.4%, 11.6%, 8.8% and 9.8% in his last four years vs. 8.1% and 8.2% in the only two years where Callaspo played much) and produces a better BABIP, but he strikes out a lot more (13.5%, 16.8%, 15.2%, 18% for Hud vs. 6.6% and 8.9% for Callaspo) making their overall on base skills pretty even. Both are projected to get on base about 35% of the time next year. Last year, Callaspo had a little more power, but neither brings much to the table in that area.
So all of that seems to paint the picture of Hudson being the slightly better player. CHONE agrees projecting Hudson for 2.2 wins next year and Callaspo for 1.7, a small, but not insignificant difference (and honestly, a slightly bigger difference than I would've expected). Fans project Hudson for 2.5 and Callaspo for 2.8 for what it's worth. However, Callaspo is heading into what will only be his second full season in the majors and will turn 27 just after the season starts so there's reason to think he still has some upside. Hudson on the other hand is already 32 making improvement unlikely and there's some chance for regression. Plus Callaspo has only accrued one year of service time and doesn't seem like somebody that'll get a ton from arbitration while a year of Hudson will surely cost at least four or five million and probably closer to eight. Of course, acquiring Callaspo would cost us a player or two as well, but that wasn’t really my point. Here’s what I want to know: Is there something I’m not getting? Why do people seem to think of Callaspo as a solid utility guy while Hudson’s a good everyday second baseman? They just don’t seem that different. Also, how would you guys feel if we went into next year with Alberto as our starting second baseman?
Also, what do you guys think of Mike Fontenot? He seems like another guy with some upside that could be had for cheap.